Will Contests & Inheritance Law
Are You Questioning Your Inheritance? Do You Want To Challenge The Validity Of A Will Or Trust?
Our experienced Will Contest lawyers maximize will contest success to make sure you receive your fair share.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult. Ensuring that loved one’s intentions for their property and assets are properly met is an important part of closure for all family members. When individuals suspect that a loved one’s will does not reflect the true intent for their property distribution, there are legal measures you can take to contest the validity of the will.
Will contests challenge the terms of wills, trusts, marital assets, beneficiary designations and other estate agreements. Whether you feel a spouse, child, sibling, parent, caretaker or other individual is entitled to an inheritance, or you feel the will or trust was drafted under duress, fraud or mental incapacity, you may have the right to contest the will.
Our expert Will Contest lawyers have over 30 years of experience validating, disputing and litigating wills and trusts. With extensive knowledge of U.S. states’ trust and probate law and decades of experience handling inheritance disputes and will contests in court, our Will Contest lawyers are dedicated to helping beneficiaries, executors, heirs and trustees protect their loved one’s legacy.
To help support your case, our Will Contest lawyers:
- Investigate detailed circumstances around will execution and amendments
- Determine legal standing for will challenges
- Consider technical flaws, undue influence, inheritance fraud and mental capacity
- Examine all relevant documents and witness testimony
- Consult with medical experts, forensic specialists and other professionals
We fight to ensure you receive your rightful inheritance (and help stop unfounded claims in their tracks). Contact an experienced lawyer today for a free, confidential consultation.
Courts Require Legal Standing to Contest a Will
In order to contest a will and secure your rightful inheritance, you must first show that you have legal standing. While state laws vary, the general probate laws grant “interested persons" legal standing to contest a will.
The Uniform Probate Code, § 1-201, defines “interested persons” as children, spouses, devisees, named beneficiaries, natural heirs, creditors or any other having a property right or claim against the estate.
Courts commonly offer natural heirs (children, spouses, parents, grandparents) legal standing when the deceased dies “intestate” (without a will).
If you feel you have been unfairly removed from an inheritance or a trusted person has exerted undue influence over a loved one, contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.
Common Legal Grounds for Will Contests
In addition to having legal standing, those contesting a will must have evidence of impropriety regarding the will. Some common grounds for will contests include:
- Undue influence: Testator was pressured or coerced in writing or amending the will.
- Fraud: Testator was intentionally misled in signing a will or misled in material fact.
- Improper execution: Will was not drafted or executed properly under the law.
- Lack of capacity: Testator lacked mentally acuity to properly draft and/or execute a will.
- Improper witness: Interested party, heir or beneficiary served as a witness.
- Tortious interference with inheritance: Substantial interference results in loss of rightful inheritance.
Our experienced Will Contest lawyers also handle cases involving:
- Last minute will modifications
- Lost or missing wills
- Executor misconduct
- Ambiguous language or contradiction
- Common law marriage inheritance rights
- Misappropriation of estate or trust
- Existence of a more recent will
Whether fighting to prove a will is valid or challenging a will’s legitimacy, our aggressive and meticulous lawyers fully examine all circumstances, documents and testimony to ensure your case is solid. Contact a member of our legal team today to protect your legal rights and collect what is rightfully yours.
Dealing With In Terrorem or No Contest Provisions
In terrorem clauses or “no contest” provisions generally state that any individual who brings an action to contest the will automatically forfeits their inheritance. The Uniform Probate Code allows such language, however most states consider the provisions void if the person challenging the will has probable cause to do so.
A successful will contest also renders the clause void. In other words, anyone with legal standing can contest a will without forfeiting their inheritance as long as they have good reason.
Our experienced inheritance lawyers believe in your right to inherit and maximize your chances for will contest success. To discuss your available legal options, contact our law offices today for a no-cost consultation.
Will Contests Are Subject To Strict Time Limits
Because the probate date, not the date of death, determines the statute of limitations for will contests, it is important to contact a Will Contest lawyer as soon as you feel unsure about the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s will. Once property and assets are distributed, it can be difficult to reclaim your rightful inheritance.
Statutes of limitations surrounding these matters vary state to state. In general, those with legal standing have two years after the will is admitted to probate to contest it. Exceptions may exist for minors and those unaware of a potential inheritance.
Your best bet for securing an inheritance and ensuring your loved one’s wishes are met is to obtain the assistance of an experienced Will Contest lawyer. If you are considering challenging a will or fighting to validate a will, act now to ensure a strong case. Contact our office now for a free, confidential case evaluation.